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Miyetti Allah tenders apology over killings, 15 months after calling Gov. Ortom’s bluff  

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SALEH Alhassan, National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, on Saturday tendered an apology to Samuel Ortom, the Benue State Governor for herdsmen attack and killings in the state with the promise to ensure peaceful coexistence between the two ethnic groups.

This apology is coming 15 months after the executive member of the Fulani socio-cultural group accused Governor Ortom of fabricating lie against Fulani herders and demanded an apology.

“Today, they have arrested Aliyu Teshaku who is alleged to be the Head of the Livestock Guard in Benue who is behind those killings. He is arrested now. People that killed the two clergymen and 17 others in the church are being tried in Makurdi and they are all Tiv people. And they are all members of the livestock guard working for Governor Ortom.

“So we expect by now there should be an apology from the Benue State Government to our association because we have never promoted violence. We have always advocated for a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” Alhassan had stated.

But report by Channels shows Alhassan giving apology during a peace meeting with Ortom in Makurdi, the state capital. The meeting which reportedly held at the official resident of the governor was facilitated by Allen Onyeama, the Chairman of Air Peace.

Onyeama had earlier stressed need for peaceful living between ethnic groups in the state, hence the peace talk.

Amnesty International in its 2018 reported that about 3,641 lives were lost to the Herders/Farmers crisis from January 2016 to October 2018.

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2018 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) also put the number of casualties from January to September 2018 at 1,700 persons.

Alhassan has recently described the governor as a peace-loving personality who remained firm, while supporting his people.

He regretted the killings in Benue and vowed that his people would live in harmony with the farmers henceforth.

In his remarks, the governor disclosed that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted by the states was to put an end to the killings of his people, stressing that it was to promote ranching.

He emphasised that the law was to promote the interest of farmers and herders, as such any individual who wishes to venture into animal husbandry business should acquire land in line with provisions of the law

The ICIR reached Alhassan for comment but he did not answer his calls.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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